Straub, I believe, was primarily concerned over what Dave Doran of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary had written at his blog about Straub's post. Doran had written something similar to what I had. Does Straub have a point of view and then look in the Bible to accommodate it? I'm not sure, but he was off on this one and then stayed off. This will not be answering his entire post, but will refute the particular exegetical point from which he buttresses the whole.
In his first offering, he said that the church of 1 Timothy 3:15 was "the universal church." Doran and myself both said that the church of 1 Timothy is local, and especially the one in 1 Timothy 3. Of course, I believe that the church is always an assembly, since that's what a church is, an assembly. There is no such thing as an unassembled assembly. Universal and church are a contradiction in terms. But for the sake of this argument, we're just looking at 1 Timothy 3:15. Straub would like his point to remain, so even though he does some backtracking in his second essay, he still misses it when he tries to further his exegesis. Here's what he wrote:
Recently I suggested that a local church is not the pillar and ground of the truth because of the tendency that local churches have to stray into error. Dave Doran has rightly challenged my use of 1 Tim. 3:15, and I confess that I should have phrased things differently. In the text in question, Paul is giving instructions to Timothy for local assemblies. Indeed, churches rightly ordered are pillars and grounds of the Truth. Note that in the text of 1 Timothy, the phrase is anarthrous so that we are talking of a pillar and ground and not the pillar and ground.
"Phrased things differently"? OK. We'll give him that. But then we get the "a" pillar and ground and not "the" pillar and ground. Dr. Straub should know that there is a reason why the KJV, NASV, NKJV, NIV, etc. all translated this "the pillar and ground of the truth," even though it is anarthrous. Anarthrous does not mean indefinite. I don't think we can get away with "phrase things differently" on this one, however.
On p. 239 of his Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, Daniel Wallace writes:
In genitive phrases both the head noun and the genitive noun normally have or lack the article. The construction is known as the Apollonius' canon, named after Apollonius Dyscolus, the second-century Greek grammarian. Apollonius observed that both the head noun and the genitive noun mimicked each other with regard to articularity. Rarely did they go their own separate ways.
Later Wallace relates on p. 245: "Though by definition an articular noun is definite, an anarthrous noun may also be definite under certain conditions." Then he lists some of these conditions. The eighth of these is a "genitive construction" (p. 250). He says that in the genitive construction, "[i]t makes little semantic difference whether the construction is articular or anarthrous."
In other words, according to the Apollonius' canon, if "the truth" is definite, which it is, then "pillar and ground" must also be definite. The translators understood that no article was necessary to make "pillar and ground" definite. It was definite. So they translated it "the pillar and ground," making it definite by adding the English article.
A good example of this canon in play elsewhere is in Colossians 3:5:
For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;
Notice "the word of the truth." This is very similar to 1 Timothy 3:15 because "word" is anarthrous in the Greek, no Greek article. And yet "word" is still definite, "the word," because "the truth" is definite.
Our understanding based upon Greek grammar is that 1 Timothy 3:15 should be understood as "the pillar and ground of the truth," not "a pillar and ground of the truth," because of the Apollonius' canon. Jeff Straub erroneously sees something with the lack of article before "pillar" that really isn't there at all. So the point stands that the assembly, the local church alone, is the pillar and ground of the truth, and not anything else. This is an instance where someone cherry picks something from the Greek to find a theological point that isn't there at all.